According to the multi-process theory of prospective memory (ProM), time-based tasks rely more heavily on strategic processes dependent on prefrontal systems than do event-based tasks. Given the prominent frontostriatal pathophysiology of HIV infection, one would expect HIV-infected individuals to demonstrate greater deficits in time-based versus event-based ProM. However, the two prior studies examining this question have produced variable results. We evaluated this hypothesis in 143 individuals with HIV infection and 43 demographically similar seronegative adults (HIV−) who completed the research version of the Memory for Intentions Screening Test, which yields parallel subscales of time- and event-based ProM. Results showed main effects of HIV serostatus and cue type, but no interaction between serostatus and cue. Planned pair-wise comparisons showed a significant effect of HIV on time-based ProM and a trend-level effect on event-based ProM that was driven primarily by the subset of participants with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Nevertheless, time-based ProM was more strongly correlated with measures of executive functions, attention/working memory, and verbal fluency in HIV-infected persons. Although HIV-associated deficits in time- and event-based ProM appear to be of comparable severity, the cognitive architecture of time-based ProM may be more strongly influenced by strategic monitoring and retrieval processes.
AIDS dementia complex; Episodic memory; Executive functions; Neuropsychological assessment
Suicide is an important public health problem in China. Elsewhere injection drug use and HIV infection have independently been associated with suicidality, but research has often overlooked these high-risk groups in China. We determined the frequency and predictors of suicidal ideas in Chinese, HIV-infected (HIV+) and uninfected (HIV-) heroin injection drug users in treatment (IDUs) and a control sample. We hypothesized that rates of suicidal ideas would be significantly higher among IDUs compared to controls, and highest among HIV+ IDUs.
We assessed suicidal ideas within the past two weeks in HIV+ (N = 204) and HIV- (N = 202) heroin IDUs in methadone treatment in Yunnan, a province at the intersection of the heroin and HIV epidemics, and in demographically matched, uninfected non-drug using controls (N = 201).
Rates of suicidality were higher in IDUs than controls but there was no additive effect of HIV infection (HIV+ IDU 43.1%; HIV- IDU 37.1%; controls 8.5%). Among HIV+ IDUs suicidality was associated most strongly with a combination of prior history of major depression, low perceived social support, and experience of HIV-relevant stress, but not with AIDS diagnosis. Among HIV- IDUs suicidality was associated with prior history of major depressive or alcohol use disorder. Less than 25% of IDUs with suicidality had histories of mood or alcohol use diagnoses.
Because suicidal ideation is frequent in IDUs in China, regardless of HIV status, and is not fully accounted for by past psychiatric history, additional research may be warranted.
IV drug use; HIV; Depression; Suicide; China
Optimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) effectiveness depends upon medication adherence, which is a complex behavior with many contributing factors including neurocognitive function. Pharmacy refill records offer a promising and practical tool to assess adherence.
A substudy of the CHARTER (CNS HIV Anti-Retroviral Therapy Effects Research) study was conducted at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the University of Washington (UW). Pharmacy refill records were the primary method to measure ART adherence, indexed to a “sentinel” drug with the highest central nervous system penetration effectiveness score.
Standardized neuromedical, neuropsychological, psychiatric and substance use assessments were performed at enrollment and at 6 months. Regression models were used to determine factors associated with adherence and the relationships between adherence and change in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid HIV RNA concentrations between visits.
Among 80 (33 JHU, 47 UW) participants, the mean adherence score was 86.4% with no difference by site. In the final multivariable model, better neurocognitive function was associated with better adherence, especially among participants who were at JHU, male, and HIV-infected for a longer time-period. Worse performance on working memory tests was associated with worse adherence. Better adherence predicted greater decreases in cerebrospinal fluid HIV RNA between visits.
Poorer global neurocognitive functioning and deficits in working memory were associated with lower adherence defined by a pharmacy refill record measure, suggesting that assessments of cognitive function, and working memory in particular, may identify patients at risk for poor ART adherence who would benefit from adherence support.
HIV; adherence; cognitive impairment; pharmacy refill records; HAND; CPE
To provide updated estimates of the prevalence and clinical impact of human immunodeficiency virus−associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) and neuropathic pain due to HIV-SN in the combination antiretroviral therapy (CART) era.
Prospective, cross-sectional analysis. Clinical correlates for HIV-SN and neuropathic pain, including age, exposure to CART, CD4 levels, plasma viral load, hepatitis C virus infection, and alcohol use disorders, were evaluated in univariate and multivariate models.
Six US academic medical centers.
One thousand five hundred thirty-nine HIV-infected individuals enrolled in the CNS (Central Nervous System) HIV Anti-Retroviral Therapy Effects Research study.
Main Outcome Measures
The presence of HIV-SN, defined by 1 or more clinical signs (diminished vibration or sharp sensation in the legs and feet; reduced ankle reflexes) in a distal, symmetrical pattern. Neuropathic pain was defined as aching, stabbing, or burning in a similar distribution. The effect on quality of life was assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey.
We found HIV-SN in 881 participants. Of these, 38.0% reported neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain was significantly associated with disability in daily activities, unemployment, and reduced quality of life. Risk factors for HIV-SN after adjustment were advancing age (odds ratio, 2.1 [95%confidence interval, 1.8–2.5] per 10 years), lower CD4 nadir (1.2 [1.1–1.2] per 100-cell decrease), current CART use (1.6 [1.3–2.8]), and past “D-drug” use (specific dideoxynucleoside analogue antiretrovirals) (2.0 [1.3–2.6]). Risk factors for neuropathic pain were past D-drug use and higher CD4 nadir.
Neuropathic pain and HIV-SN remain prevalent, causing substantial disability and reduced quality of life even with successful CART. The clinical correlates of HIV-SN have changed with the evolution of treatment. These findings argue for redoubled efforts to determine HIV-SN pathogenesis and the development of symptomatic and neuroregenerative therapies.
The present study assesses the impact of methamphetamine (METH) on antiretroviral (ART) adherence among HIV+ persons, as well as examines the contribution of neurocognitive impairment and other neuropsychiatric factors (i.e., major depressive disorder (MDD), Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)) for ART nonadherence. We examined HIV+ persons with DSM-IV-diagnosed lifetime history of METH abuse/dependence (HIV+/METH+; n = 67) as compared to HIV+ participants with no history of METH abuse/dependence (HIV+/METH−; n = 50). Ancillary analyses compared these groups with a small group of HIV+/METH+ persons with current METH abuse/dependence (HIV+/CU METH+; n = 8). Nonadherence was defined as self-report of any skipped ART dose in the last four days. Neurocognitive functioning was assessed with a comprehensive battery, covering seven neuropsychological domains. Lifetime METH diagnosis was associated with higher rates of detectable levels of plasma and CSF HIV RNA. When combing groups (i.e., METH+ and METH− participants), univariate analyses indicated co-occurring ADHD, ASPD, and MDD predicted ART nonadherence (p’s<0.10; not lifetime METH status or neurocognitive impairment). A significant multivariable model including these variables indicated that only MDD uniquely predicted ART nonadherence after controlling for the other variables (p<0.05). Ancillary analyses indicated that current METH users (use within 30 days) were significantly less adherent (50% prevalence of nonadherence) than lifetime METH+ users and HIV+/METH-participants, and that neurocognitive impairment was associated with nonadherence (p’s<0.05). METH use disorders are associated with worse HIV disease outcomes and ART medication nonadherence. Interventions often target substance use behaviors alone to enhance antiretroviral treatment outcomes; however, in addition to targeting substance use behaviors, interventions to improve ART adherence may also need to address coexisting neuropsychiatric factors and cognitive impairment to improve ART medication taking.
HIV/AIDS; Cognition; Medication Adherence; Antiretroviral; Methamphetamine
The contribution of bipolar disorder (BD), a prevalent serious mental illness characterized by impulsivity and mood instability, to antiretroviral (ART) and psychiatric medication adherence among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals is unknown. We examined medication adherence among 44 HIV+/BD+ persons as compared to 33 demographically- and medically-comparable HIV+/BD− persons. Classification of adherent (≥90%) or non-adherent (<90%) based on proportion of correctly taken doses over 30 days was determined using electronic medication monitoring devices. HIV+/BD+ persons were significantly less likely to be ART adherent (47.7%) as compared to HIV+/BD− (90.9%) persons. Within the HIV+/BD+ group, mean psychiatric medication adherence was significantly worse than ART medication adherence, although there was a significant correlation between ART and psychiatric adherence levels. Importantly, 30-day ART adherence was associated with plasma virologic response among HIV+/BD+ individuals. Given the high overlap of HIV and BD, and the observed medication adherence difficulties for these persons, specialized adherence improvement interventions are needed.
Medication Adherence; HIV/AIDS; Bipolar Disorder
HIV infection and older age are each independently associated with lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and deficits in prospective memory (PM), which is a distinct aspect of cognition involving the ability to “remember to remember” to do something at a future occasion. The present study investigated associations between PM and HRQoL in 72 older (≥ 50 years) and 41 younger (≤ 40 years) HIV-infected adults. Self-reported PM complaints predicted HRQoL across the entire sample, but there was a significant interaction between performance-based PM and age group on HRQoL, such that lower time-based PM was associated with lower HRQoL only in the younger cohort. Within the younger group, time-based and self-reported PM significantly predicted mental HRQoL independent of other risk factors (e.g., depression). These findings suggest that PM plays a unique role in HRQoL outcomes among younger persons living with HIV infection and support the examination of other age-related factors (e.g., effective use of compensatory strategies) that may regulate the adverse impact of PM on everyday functioning.
AIDS Dementia Complex; Aging; Prospective memory; Quality of life; Functional status; Health status
The catechol-O-methyltransferease (COMT) Val allele has been linked to executive dysfunction among healthy individuals. The nature of this relationship is unknown in the context of HIV infection and/or methamphetamine (METH) dependence, two conditions that can alter dopaminergic system functioning. We sought to determine if the putative relationship between COMT and executive dysfunction could be observed among individuals with and without HIV-infection and/or METH dependence, and to explore the specificity of this relationship by examining other cognitive domains. Utilizing an existing cohort of 229 men with and without HIV infection and/or METH dependence we found that Met/Met carriers within the HIV-only and control groups, displayed better executive functioning compared to Val/Val and Val/Met carriers. However, this effect was attenuated in the METH-only and comorbid (ie, HIV+/METH+) groups. Examination of other neurocognitive domains were not consistent with effects found for executive functioning. Results support the presumed neuroprotective effect of Met/Met genotype on executive functioning among HIV-only and control groups. Among METH-only and comorbid groups, the slower rate of dopamine clearance conferred by the Met/Met genotype may increase the risk of adverse effects of METH, resulting in comparable executive dysfunction to that of Val allele carriers.
Val158Met; Endophenotype; Executive Function
The feasibility, use, and acceptability of text messages to track methamphetamine use and promote antiretroviral treatment (ART) adherence among HIV-infected methamphetamine users was examined. From an ongoing randomized controlled trial, 30-day text response rates of participants assigned to the intervention (individualized texting for adherence building (iTAB), n = 20) were compared to those in the active comparison condition (n = 9). Both groups received daily texts assessing methamphetamine use, and the iTAB group additionally received personalized daily ART adherence reminder texts. Response rate for methamphetamine use texts was 72.9% with methamphetamine use endorsed 14.7% of the time. Text-derived methamphetamine use data was correlated with data from a structured substance use interview covering the same time period (P < 0.05). The iTAB group responded to 69.0% of adherence reminder texts; among those responses, 81.8% endorsed taking ART medication. Standardized feedback questionnaire responses indicated little difficulty with the texts, satisfaction with the study, and beliefs that future text-based interventions would be helpful. Moreover, most participants believed the intervention reduced methamphetamine use and improved adherence. Qualitative feedback regarding the intervention was positive. Future studies will refine and improve iTAB for optimal acceptability and efficacy. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01317277.
Neuropsychological disturbances have been reported in association with use of the recreational drug “ecstasy,” or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), but findings have been inconsistent. We performed comprehensive neuropsychological testing examining seven ability domains in 21 MDMA users (MDMA+) and 21 matched control participants (MDMA−). Among MDMA+ participants, median [interquartile range] lifetime MDMA use was 186 [111, 516] doses, with 120 [35–365] days of abstinence. There were no significant group differences in neuropsychological performance, with the exception of the motor speed/dexterity domain in which 43% of MDMA+ were impaired compared with 5% of MDMA− participants (p = .004). Motor impairment differences were not explained by use of other substances and were unrelated to length of abstinence or lifetime number of MDMA doses. Findings provide limited evidence for neuropsychological differences between MDMA+ and MDMA− participants with the exception of motor impairments observed in the MDMA+ group. However, replication of this finding in a larger sample is warranted.
Ecstasy; N-Methyl-3; 4-methylenedioxyamphetamine; Neurocognitive; Neurotoxicity; Stimulant; Hallucinogen
Methamphetamine (MA) use and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) commonly co-occur and are independently associated with dysregulation of frontostriatal loops and risky decision-making; however, whether their comorbidity exacerbates risky decision-making is not known. This study evaluated 23 participants with histories of MA dependence and ADHD (MA+ADHD+), 25 subjects with MA dependence alone (MA+ADHD−), and 22 healthy adults (MA−ADHD−), who completed the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) as part of a larger neuropsychiatric research evaluation. Results showed a significant interaction between ADHD, MA, and working memory, such that individuals with working memory deficits in the ADHD+MA+ cohort demonstrated the strongest propensity to select cards from “disadvantageous” versus “advantageous” decks on the IGT. This effect was unique to working memory and was not better explained by other psychiatric, substance use, or neuromedical factors. Findings suggest that working memory deficits may moderate the expression of risky decision-making in MA users with ADHD.
Amphetamine; Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity; Cognitive Processes; Drug Abuse; Short Term Memory; Dysexecutive Syndrome
Difficulties with sustained attention have been found among both persons with HIV infection (HIV+) and bipolar disorder (BD). The authors examined sustained attention among 39 HIV+ individuals with BD (HIV+/BD+) and 33 HIV-infected individuals without BD (HIV+/BD−), using the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test–II (CPT–II). A Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score was also assigned to each participant as an overall indicator of daily functioning abilities. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse performance on CPT–II omission errors, hit reaction time SE (Hit RT SE), variability of SE, and perseverations than HIV+/BD− participants. When examining CPT–II performance over the six study blocks, both HIV+/BD+ and HIV+/BD− participants evidenced worse performance on scores of commission errors and reaction times as the test progressed. The authors also examined the effect of current mood state (i.e., manic, depressive, euthymic) on CPT–II performance, but no significant differences were observed across the various mood states. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse GAF scores than HIV+/BD− participants, which indicates poorer overall functioning in the dually-affected group; among HIV+/BD+ persons, significant negative correlations were found between GAF scores and CPT–II omission and commission errors, detectability, and perseverations, indicating a possible relationship between decrements in sustained attention and worse daily-functioning outcomes.
Estimates of the prevalence of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempt, and risks for new-onset suicidality, among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals are not widely available in the era of modern combined antiretroviral treatment (cART).
Participants (n=1560) were evaluated with a comprehensive battery of tests that included the depression and substance use modules of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) as part of a large prospective cohort study at six U.S. academic medical centers. Participants with possible lifetime depression (n=981) were classified into five categories: 1) no thoughts of death or suicide (n=352); 2) thoughts of death (n=224); 3) thoughts of suicide (n=99); 4) made a suicide plan (n=102); and 5) attempted suicide (n=204).
Twenty-six percent (405/1560) of participants reported lifetime suicidal ideation and 13% (204/1560) reported lifetime suicide attempt. Participants who reported suicidal thoughts or plans, or attempted suicide, reported higher scores on the BDI-II (p<0.0001), and higher rates of current major depressive disorder (p=0.01), than those who did not. Attempters reported higher rates of lifetime substance abuse (p=0.02) and current use of psychotropic medications (p=0.01) than non-attempters.
Study assessments focused on lifetime, rather than current, suicide. Data was not collected on the timing of ideation or attempt, frequency, or nature of suicide attempt.
High rates of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempt, and the relationship of past report with current depressed mood, suggests that mood disruption is still prevalent in HIV. Findings emphasize the importance of properly diagnosing and treating psychiatric comorbidities among HIV persons in the cART era.
HIV; depression; suicide
While neuropsychological deficits are evident among methamphetamine (meth) addicts, they are often unrelated to meth exposure parameters such as lifetime consumption and length of abstinence. The notion that some meth users develop neuropsychological impairments while others with similar drug exposure do not, suggests that there may be individual differences in vulnerability to the neurotoxic effects of meth. One source of differential vulnerability could come from genotypic variability in metabolic clearance of meth, dependent on the activity of cytochrome P450-2D6 (CYP2D6). We compared neuropsychological performance in 52 individuals with a history of meth dependence according with their CYP2D6 phenotype. All were free of HIV or hepatitis C infection and did not meet dependence criteria for other substances. Extensive metabolizers showed worse overall neuropsychological performance and were three times as likely to be cognitively impaired as intermediate/poor metabolizers. Groups did not differ in their demographic or meth use characteristics, nor did they evidence differences in mood disorder or other substance use. This preliminary study is the first to suggest that efficient meth metabolism is associated with worse neurocognitive outcomes in humans, and implicates the products of oxidative metabolism of meth as a possible source of brain injury.
Substance abuse; CYP2D6; Polymorphisms; Neurotoxicity; Metabolism; Cognition
To determine how serious a confound substance use (SU) might be in studies on HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) we examined the relationship of SU history to neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in participants enrolled in the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER) study.
After excluding cases with behavioral evidence of acute intoxication and histories of factors that independently could account for NCI (e.g., stroke), baseline demographic, medical, SU, and neurocognitive data were analyzed from 399 participants. Potential SU risk for NCI was determined by the following criteria: lifetime SU DSM-IV diagnosis, self-report of marked lifetime SU, or positive urine toxicology (UTOX). Participants were divided into three groups: no SU (N = 134), Non-syndromic SU (N = 131), syndromic SU (N = 134) and matched on literacy level, nadir CD4, and depressive symptoms.
While approximately 50% of the participants were diagnosed with HAND, a MANCOVA of neurocogntive summary scores, covarying for UTOX, revealed no significant effect of SU status. Correlational analyses indicated weak associations between lifetime heroin dosage and poor recall and working memory, as well as between cannabis and cocaine use and better verbal fluency.
These data indicate that HIV neurocognitive effects are seen at about the same frequency in those with and without historic substance abuse, in cases that are equated on other factors that might contribute to NCI. Therefore, studies on neuroAIDS and its treatment need not exclude such cases. However, the effects of acute SU and current SU disorders on HAND require further study.
Substance use; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder; cognition
Assessing medication adherence in already difficult-to-treat HIV-infected subpopulations presents a unique challenge. The objective of this study was to compare different approaches to assessing medication adherence: (1) electronic medication monitoring, (2) standardized self-report questionnaire, and (3) self-report visual analogue scale, and to determine whether antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence measures differed for HIV-infected persons with bipolar disorder (HIV+ /BD+) as compared to HIV-infected persons without bipolar disorder (HIV+ /BD−). ART adherence was assessed for 74 HIV-positive participants using the Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS), AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) adherence questionnaire, and visual analogue scale (VAS). Participants were classified as adherent or nonadherent on each measure by previously validated cutscores. Correlations and logistic regressions were used to examine associations between adherence measures and demographic and clinical variables. In the HIV+ /BD− group, significant correlations existed between each self-report measure and the MEMS. Males comprised 81% of the study population. Participants averaged 44 years of age and 13 years of education. No significant correlations were found among adherence measures in the HIV+ /BD+ group. Among participants reporting adherence on either self-report measure but classified as nonadherent based on MEMS, 94% had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder was a significant predictor of adherence classification discordance among self-report measures. Our findings suggest that it remains difficult to assess ART adherence among HIV-positive individuals with bipolar disorder. Combined approaches of self-report and objective measures may be the best way to estimate adherence, and may provide the best basis for interventions designed to improve adherence in difficult-to-treat populations.
China’s HIV epidemic commenced in its agrarian provinces through contaminated commercial plasma donation centers and is now becoming a public health concern nationwide. Little is known of the psychiatric and substance use disorder characteristics of this population, or their impact on everyday function, employment, and life quality.
HIV infected (HIV+) former plasma donors (N = 203) and HIV-negative (HIV-) donor controls (N = 198) completed the World Mental Health Survey Composite International Diagnostic Interview to determine lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD), substance use disorders, and suicidality. Current mood and suicidality were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Everyday function was measured by an Activity of Daily Living questionnaire; life quality was evaluated by the Medical Outcomes Study-HIV.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a significant cause of morbidity in people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). FKBP5 is a candidate gene with single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs1360780 and rs3800373 associated with MDD. This gene product and its relative, FKBP4, physically associate with the glucocorticoid receptor whose function is implicated in MDD pathophysiology. Because these genes are expressed in blood and brain and elevated in HIV infection, we explored the relationship between gene expression, genotype, and MDD symptoms. Longitudinally followed subjects (N = 57) as part of the CNS HIV AntiRetroviral Effects Research study, with diagnosed MDD and who donated blood for genotyping and gene expression analysis, were assessed. Subjects donated blood on adjacent visits with and without meeting criteria for MDD episode. Changes in clinical parameters were compared changes in gene expression. Change in FKBP5 expression correlated with change in Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) for MDD → euthymic comparison in GG genotype of rs3800373 (P = .013) and TT carriers of rs1360780 (P = .02). In euthymic → MDD comparison, GG homozygous, FKBP5 expression correlated with more severe change in BDI. Change in FKBP4 expression did not correlate with changes in clinical or depression measurements. Higher FKBP5 expression correlated with greater symptom change for GG carriers of rs3800373.
FKBP4; FKBP5; gene expression; genotyping; HIV; human immunodeficiency virus; major depression; major depressive disorder
Recent advances in understanding of the mode of action of tetrahydrocannabinol and related cannabinoid in-gredients of marijuana, plus the accumulating anecdotal reports on potential medical benefits have spurred increasing re-search into possible medicinal uses of cannabis. Recent clinical trials with smoked and vaporized marijuana, as well as other botanical extracts indicate the likelihood that the cannabinoids can be useful in the management of neuropathic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, and possibly other indications. As with all medications, benefits and risks need to be weighed in recommending cannabis to patients. We present an algorithm that may be useful to physicians in determining whether cannabis might be recommended as a treatment in jurisdictions where such use is permitted.
Cannabis; chronic pain; pain.
Chronic use of methamphetamine (MA) is associated with neuropsychological dysfunction and affective distress. Some normalization of function has been reported after abstinence, but little data is available on the possible added benefits of long-term sobriety. To address this, we performed detailed neuropsychological and affective evaluations in 83 MA-dependent individuals at a baseline visit and following an average one-year interval period. Among the 83 MA-dependent participants, 25 remained abstinent and 58 used MA at least once during the interval period. Thirty-eight non-MA-addicted, demographically matched healthy comparison (i.e., HC) participants were also examined. At baseline, both MA-dependent participants who were able to maintain abstinence and those who were not performed significantly worse than the healthy comparison subjects on global neuropsychological functioning and were significantly more distressed. At the one-year follow-up, both the long term abstainers and healthy comparison groups showed comparable global neuropsychological performance and affective distress levels, whereas the MA-dependent group who continued to use were worse than the comparison participants in terms of global neuropsychological functioning and affective distress. An interaction was observed between neuropsychological impairment at baseline, MA abstinence, and cognitive improvement, with abstinent MA-dependent participants who were neuropsychologically impaired at baseline demonstrating significantly and disproportionately greater improvement in processing speed and slightly greater improvement in motor abilities relative to the other participants. These results suggest partial recovery of neuropsychological functioning and improvement in affective distress upon sustained abstinence from MA that may extend beyond a year or more.
Methamphetamine; dependence; drug abstinence; cognition; central nervous system; affective disorders
Research into the biological processes that increase susceptibility to methamphetamine dependence has been conducted primarily in Asian populations. Using a case-control design this study’s purpose was to explore, among a population of methamphetamine-dependent Caucasians, six putative single nucleotide polymorphisms previously found to be associated with methamphetamine dependence in Asian populations. 193 non-psychotic males (117 methamphetamine-dependent and 76 controls) were genotyped for variants located in six genes (AKT1, ARRB2, BDNF, COMT, GSTP1, OPRM1). Genotypic and allelic frequencies, odds ratios, and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. None of the putative gene associations were significantly replicated in our sample of Caucasian men. Effect size comparisons suggest a trend toward allelic divergence for arrestin beta 2 (ARRB2) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1) and allelic convergence for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Results provide preliminary support for further exploration and validation of candidate SNPs for METH dependence reported among Asian populations across other ethnic/ancestral groups.
AKT1; COMT; OPRM1; ARRB2; BDNF; GSTP1
Despite management with opioids and other pain modifying therapies, neuropathic pain continues to reduce the quality of life and daily functioning in HIV-infected individuals. Cannabinoid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems have been shown to modulate pain perception. We conducted a clinical trial to assess the impact of smoked cannabis on neuropathic pain in HIV. This was a phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of analgesia with smoked cannabis in HIV-associated distal sensory predominant polyneuropathy (DSPN). Eligible subjects had neuropathic pain refractory to at least two previous analgesic classes; they continued on their prestudy analgesic regimens throughout the trial. Regulatory considerations dictated that subjects smoke under direct observation in a hospital setting. Treatments were placebo and active cannabis ranging in potency between 1 and 8% Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, four times daily for 5 consecutive days during each of 2 treatment weeks, separated by a 2-week washout. The primary outcome was change in pain intensity as measured by the Descriptor Differential Scale (DDS) from a pretreatment baseline to the end of each treatment week. Secondary measures included assessments of mood and daily functioning. Of 127 volunteers screened, 34 eligible subjects enrolled and 28 completed both cannabis and placebo treatments. Among the completers, pain relief was greater with cannabis than placebo (median difference in DDS pain intensity change, 3.3 points, effect size = 0.60; p = 0.016). The proportions of subjects achieving at least 30% pain relief with cannabis versus placebo were 0.46 (95%CI 0.28, 0.65) and 0.18 (0.03, 0.32). Mood and daily functioning improved to a similar extent during both treatment periods. Although most side effects were mild and self-limited, two subjects experienced treatment-limiting toxicities. Smoked cannabis was generally well tolerated and effective when added to concomitant analgesic therapy in patients with medically refractory pain due to HIV DSPN.
HIV; clinical; neuropathic pain; cannabis; polyneuropathy
We explored the possible augmenting effect of traumatic brain injury (TBI) history on HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) associated neurocognitive complications. HIV-infected participants with self-reported history of definite TBI were compared to HIV patients without TBI history. Groups were equated for relevant demographic and HIV-associated characteristics. The TBI group evidenced significantly greater deficits in executive functioning and working memory. N-acetylaspartate, a putative marker of neuronal integrity, was significantly lower in the frontal gray matter and basal ganglia brain regions of the TBI group. Together, these results suggest an additional brain impact of TBI over that from HIV alone. One clinical implication is that HIV patients with TBI history may need to be monitored more closely for increased risk of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder signs or symptoms.
Head injury; HIV associated neurocognitive disorder; Neuropsychological performance; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; N-acetylaspartate
Methamphetamine (meth) abuse is increasingly of public health concern and has been associated with neurocognitive dysfunction. Some previous studies have been hampered by background differences between meth users and comparison subjects, as well as unknown HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) status, which can also affect brain functioning. We compared the neurocognitive functioning of 54 meth dependent (METH+) study participants who had been abstinent for an average of 129 days, to that of 46 demographically comparable control subjects (METH-) with similar level of education and reading ability. All participants were free of HIV and HCV infection. The METH+ group exhibited higher rates of neuropsychological impairment in most areas tested. Among meth users, neuropsychologically normal (n=32) and impaired (n=22) subjects did not differ with respect to self-reported age at first use, total years of use, route of consumption, or length of abstinence. Those with motor impairment had significantly greater meth use in the past year, but impairment in cognitive domains was unrelated to meth exposure. The apparent lack of correspondence between substance use parameters and cognitive impairment suggests the need for further study of individual differences in vulnerability to the neurotoxic effects of methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine; Stimulant; Motor impairment; Neuropsychological; Cognitive impairment; Drug exposure; Predictors
We examined neurocognitive functioning among persons with acute or early HIV infection (AEH) and hypothesized that the neurocognitive performance of AEH individuals would be intermediate between HIV seronegatives (HIV−) and those with chronic HIV infection. Comprehensive neurocognitive testing was accomplished with 39 AEH, 63 chronically HIV infected, and 38 HIV− participants. All AEH participants were HIV infected for less than 1 year. Average domain deficit scores were calculated in seven neurocognitive domains. HIV−, AEH, and chronically HIV infected groups were ranked from best (rank of 1) to worst (rank of 3) in each domain. All participants received detailed substance use, neuromedical, and psychiatric evaluations and HIV infected persons provided information on antiretroviral treatment and completed laboratory evaluations including plasma and CSF viral loads. A nonparametric test of ordered alternatives (Page test), and the appropriate nonparametric follow-up test, was used to evaluate level of neuropsychological (NP) functioning across and between groups. The median duration of infection for the AEH group was 16 weeks [interquartile range, IQR: 10.3–40.7] as compared to 4.9 years [2.8–11.1] in the chronic HIV group. A Page test using ranks of average scores in the seven neurocognitive domains showed a significant monotonic trend with the best neurocognitive functioning in the HIV− group (mean rank = 1.43), intermediate neurocognitive functioning in the AEH group (mean rank = 1.71), and the worst in the chronically HIV infected (mean rank = 2.86; L statistic = 94, p < 0.01); however, post-hoc testing comparing neurocognitive impairment of each group against each of the other groups showed that the chronically infected group was significantly different from both the HIV− and AEH groups on neurocognitive performance; the AEH group was statistically indistinguishable from the HIV− group. Regression models among HIV infected participants were unable to identify significant predictors of neurocognitive performance. Neurocognitive functioning was worst among persons with chronic HIV infection. Although a significant monotonic trend existed and patterns of the data suggest the AEH individuals may fall intermediate to HIV− and chronic participants, we were not able to statistically confirm this hypothesis.
HIV infection; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders; Acute or early HIV; Primary HIV